The Four Last Songs for soprano and orchestra are – with the exception of the song “Malven” (Mallows), composed later the same year – the final completed works of Richard Strauss. They were composed in 1948 when the composer was 84.
The songs are “Frühling” (Spring), “September”, “Beim Schlafengehen” (When Falling Asleep) and “Im Abendrot” (At Sunset). The title Four Last Songs was provided posthumously by Strauss’s friend Ernst Roth, who published the four songs as a single unit in 1950 after Strauss’s death.
Strauss died in September 1949. The premiere was given at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 22 May 1950 by soprano Kirsten Flagstad and the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler.
The work has no opus number and was published in 1950 after Strauss’s death.